CURLING: Minnesota cruises to fifth straight win at 2008 U.S. Club Nationals

March 05, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 5, 2008 Minnesota cruises to fifth straight win at U.S. Club Nationals (STEVENS POINT, Wis.)-Minnesota's Norma O'Leary rink is the lone undefeated women's team at the 2008 U.S. Club Nationals after winning the team's fifth straight game Wednesday morning in Mankato, Minn. O'Leary (Silver Bay, Minn.) and teammates Pam Cavers (Duluth, Minn.), Mary Johnson (Duluth, Minn.) and Patti Luke (Duluth, Minn.) scored early and often as they handed Mary Jaster's North Dakota II team its fifth loss in the round robin, 13-6. Jaster and her Grafton, N.D., teammates Jennifer Thompson, Jennifer Tibert, Marlene Niemann and Victoria Niemann scored three points in the second end to take a short-lived lead. O'Leary's team, who has twice finished runner-up at this event, would tie the game in the third end and steal three more points over the next two ends for a 6-3 advantage. Jaster's squad put up a deuce but then allowed Minnesota to score seven points over the next three ends to seal the win. Tracy Lawless and her Illinois squad won their fourth straight match with a 12-3 victory over Judy Willingham's Texas rink to improve to 4-1. Lawless (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) and teammates Amy Brown (Deerfield, Ill.), Leslie Earls (Lake Bluff, Ill.) and Deborah Moulton (Lake Forest, Ill.) never trailed in this match and broke away in the sixth end with four points to go up 8-3. Back-to-back steals of two proved to be too much for the Texas ladies as they offered the handshake to end the game. Maryland's Ann Drummie team bettered its record to 3-2 with a come-from-behind win over Arizona's Karen Tait rink. Tait (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and teammates Carol Ann Naso (Fountain Hills, Ariz.), Theresa Shaw (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Gwen Gray (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored five straight points over three ends to begin the match but Drummie (Washington, D.C.) and teammates Joan Twigg (Severna Park, Md.), Rachel Treesh (Silver Spring, Md.) and Rachel Beyerle (Alexandria, Va.) came storming back with five points in the fourth end and proceeded to steal singles in the next three ends for an eventual 9-7 victory. Beth Bohlman's North Dakota I rink also improved to 3-2 with a 10-2 win over Joy Pahl's Wisconsin ladies-the team's first loss of event. Ohio's Else Festersen team posted its first win with an 8-5 defeat of New York's Joyance Meechai rink. After stealing singles in two straight ends, Festersen (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) and teammates Debra Horn (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Mary Jane Maisonville (Aurora, Ohio) and Laurel Maurer (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) held a 5-2 advantage after six ends and held off the New Yorkers with a deuce in the eighth end and a single in the 10th. The action continues today with draws at noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The round robin concludes Friday afternoon. The top four teams qualify for Saturday morning's semifinals. The men's and women's championship finals are set for 2 p.m. Saturday. The U.S. Club Nationals, now in its fourth year, does not lead to the World Championships, rather rewards the top league-playing team in the U.S. The winners of the recent U.S. National Championships in Hibbing represent the U.S. at the Worlds. Game scores: Illinois 12, Texas 3; Minnesota 13, North Dakota II 6; Maryland 9, Arizona 7; North Dakota I 10, Wisconsin 2; Ohio 8, New York 5 Standings: Women: Minnesota (O'Leary) 5-0 Illinois (Lawless) 4-1 Wisconsin (Pahl) 4-1 New York (Meechai) 3-2 Maryland (Drummie) 3-2 North Dakota 1 (Bohlman)3-2 Texas (Willingham) 1-4 Arizona (Tait) 1-4 Ohio (Festersen) 1-4 North Dakota 2 (Jaster) 0-5 Men: Minnesota (Harris) 5-0 Wisconsin 1 (Brown) 5-0 Illinois (Wright) 4-1 Maryland (Edie) 3-2 North Dakota (Tangedal) 3-2 Oregon (Schaak) 2-3 Ohio (Cohen) 1-4 Washington (Rasmussen) 1-4 Wisconsin 2 (Journeaux) 1-4 Colorado (Gleeson) 0-5 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).